July 30, 2012 § 4 Comments
When I was in my early twenties I got this real bad itch. Figuratively. During my college years I wasn’t searching for nor did I find “The One.” I wanted to travel, go places, see the world! It didn’t matter that I had college debt, I knew I would figure out how to pay that. I didn’t even care about my minimal material possessions, I was dreaming about living out of a suitcase and taking advantage of public transportation.
As the years went on, I did travel for about eight months or so, I married, had kids, and somewhat lost myself. Deep down inside, the itch went on itching and I couldn’t help but feel hopeless.
For whatever the reason, things have happened to us. Stupid financial decisions, material possessions that cause us debt, heartache in the form of health problems. The stress kept piling up over the years. Trever and I are in love, indeed, yet have felt drastically more stressed about life than one should be.
Enough with our woes.
At the onset of this year, we put out three main goals to focus on: spiritual, physical, and dream-job-oriented, which I outlined in my post A Family Overview in review of 2011. Our hopes have been to connect more spiritually, get my tummy and his heart and back issues in order, and do something fabulous together to make mula.
Crazy how when you put that out in the universe, she listens.
My tummy, as many of you know, has given me major troubles. Especially since my pregnancy with Edric Fane (born January 31), I haven’t been able to digest food properly. Or so I thought.
Gluten seemed to the be issue since about 2007 when I cut it out of my diet. And then I tacked on dairy, which had been a struggle since my toddlerhood. As well as animal protein, post-Eddie pregnancy.
Shoot, I didn’t even feel like eating, let alone raising two children, dealing with mold issues and legal battles, going on a spiritual pilgrimage, or starting a company with Trever (more on that another time). Nothing sounding appealing and everything felt overwhelming. And I mean everything.
…That’s what happens when you can’t eat.
I was about up to my wits end on existential looping when I decided I needed some talk therapy or something. I asked around on FB. Texted some friends. (This was right after I spent two weeks living on rice and kale, thinking I had an ulcer, and was in a fender bender in my new-to-me car with AC whilst turning into my homeopathic doctors office. I had had it up to here!)
My good friend, Crystal, in particular wanted to share her magicians, uh hum, healers information with me. She had helped her become pregnant with her fabulous little man Rane 3 years prior-to.
I needed a little magic. I figured it was worth a shot.
I had Trever call the healer because on this particular Thursday night I was curled up in a ball with “stomach” pain. That night we would set an appointment for the next Monday to come.
As the weekend passed, I was filled with excitement in anticipation. Someone who could possibly actually possibly help me. A miracle.
Monday came and Trever and I jaunted down to meet said healer with the kids. In an hour and a half of amazingness, she discovered the problem, diagnosed the issue, and recommended a supplement to be taken breakfast, lunch, and dinner 3x a day for 13 days.
My pancreas has been operating at almost nothing, meaning I haven’t been digesting food. My mom confirmed this when I relayed the news and she told me of a gut instinct (no pun intended) she had to get my pancreas checked when I was eight! 8! 8!
It was also my spleen. It hasn’t been creating enough red blood cells, thus it hasn’t been transporting enough oxygen to the rest of my body. Hence the exhaustion.
That Monday is best day of my life that I can think of to date (okay, minus my graduation, marriage, birth of children, and a handful of others). Learning the possible source of my issue and, in turn, allowing my body to heal itself through the usage of supplements has been the greatest gift I could give myself.
Many of you have probably heard me complain about my stomach, wheat-free gluten-free vegan diet, and thus have seen me not in my best form. For that I apologize. I’m on the up and up.
Discovering the gut source has allowed me to become a better person. A better wife, a better mom, a better friend. And it marks the beginning of an adventure that we, as a family, are about to embark on called Life.
Here’s to better today’s. And happier tomorrow’s. Thanks for hanging in there with me.
March 26, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Growth is one of those funny things that you don’t really notice until **BAM!** it happens and you’re there. You don’t necessarily feel more mature. Or further ahead. Or like you know more than you used to. If you’re like me, you just feel like you’ve encountered a shift in your perspective.
I happen to be madly in love with growth, always have been. It’s only deepened since I became a mother. You see, as a mother, I’ve noticed that I “monitor” my personal growth even less. Not that that’s a good thing. Yet it’s true.
The last big hurrah before baby number two was born was when I had Audrey. I remember thinking that I could die during this experience (child labor), but that it was okay. My new bundle of sunshine was worth it.
The second with Edric was no different. I so strongly desired their life to flourish that my own needs–to be comfortable, to be sleeping, to not be in pain–were far from my mind. And in both instances after the labor, I looked into my own eyes in the mirror and said,
“Yep, I don’t know how, but you’ve grown.”
It’s one of those growth things that you just can’t pin-point really. It just is. You just did. You simply are. And it feels right. Magical personal growth that can’t be taught, explained, or even really grasped by the one experiencing it.
And so as motherhood goes, I continue to embrace whatever my soul and spirit leads me too. More growth in this way or that. More revelation. More truth that jives with who I am. I try to relax into it like a yoga pose, inhaling and exhaling slowly. Focusing on nothing else but the sheer fact that it’s growth.
Photo: Audrey in a dress that has a bit of room for growth.
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February 8, 2012 § 4 Comments
It’s been a whirlwind of a week over here in the O’Brien household. We’ve had tons of friends and family come to our aid with help, food, and care. I’ve been doing my duty to rest as much as possible, as this time, I’m determined to not take six months just to start feeling normal again–I was moving to Long Beach when Audrey was three weeks old and walking our year-old puppy everyday thereafter. Not a brilliant recovery plan.
So this time, I’m determined to sit on the couch doing nothing and actually sleep when the baby sleeps like they tell you to. I’m just hoping Trev and I figure out how to get our oldest–that’s funny to write–out of the house while he’s at work. Audrey has gone out with Grandma, Aunt Liz, and other friends and has had a blast. It’s funny how much I miss her. When she’s not here, all I can think is:
I wonder what Audrey’s doing? I hope she’s having fun.
And I want to be having fun with her. She’s gone to the park numerous times, to Disneyland, to the Magical Playground (an indoor play place), to the grocery store, and lots of other places with her Papa. Wherever she goes though, I want to be there with her. I’m sure other parents who’ve experienced having more than one have gone through the same range of feelings I’m having now.
I’m jealous of those who take her out and enjoy her company. I long to sit and snuggle with her, holding her nice and close. I can’t wait to do even the simplest of chores with her out of the house, just to see her face light up as she learns more about life. And I look forward to the time when we’ll be able to be together having fun.
I love my first baby.
When Edric came, my heart expanded and found plenty more space for him. It wasn’t even a question or worry on my mind. Room for my buddy just appeared. Partly the oxytocin, partly because bringing people into the world is the most sacred and glorious thing known to man. Hands down. Now that he’s here, I can’t imagine life without him similarly to how I can’t imagine life without my Audrey.
Holding Edric everyday is a pure joy. I could stare at him every second and I spend much of my time doing so. Yet I still miss Audrey. It’s the oxytocin spill. It’s pouring out everywhere. I’ve tried to hold it in and keep it contained, but I can’t help it. I love my babies. And I’ll never stop.
February 2, 2012 § 4 Comments
It’s a boy! How exciting is that? Trever, Audrey, and I couldn’t be more stoked to welcome (drum roll, please):
Edric Fane O’Brien
January 31st, 2012 at 12:24pm
8lbs 10 ounces and 20.5 inches
As many of you know, we had Audrey at home and wanted to give it another go the second time around. With the help of our two midwives–who acted more as angels–Edric (aka My Buddy) was born in only five short hours at home.
If you read my post from Sunday, you know I was feeling quite a bit restless and antsy for a myriad of reasons. I didn’t realize till later that day, that I was also a bit stressed about Trever going to work (because we need the money) and going into labor while he was gone.
With all of my practice contractions leading up to that point, I knew there was a good chance that they would be super intense, active labor contractions from the get-go. Or there was the possibility of them camelbacking–having one on top of the other with no break–because of my fifteen hour labor experience previously with Audrey. Either way, it made me nervous.
So when I spoke to the mom down in San Diego about this, she asked if it would be helpful to use some of her vacation time and come relieve some of that stress by being there while Trever was at work starting Monday. Yes, please.
The mom arrived Monday afternoon and I dumped all of my cares and worries onto her. It felt good. I was beginning to relax. And get more excited about the arrival of my baby. Not more antsy. Yay for moms that are also therapists in “real life.”
That night, I couldn’t sleep with my sore hips, ouchie pelvis, and a very large noggin pressing further and further and further down, but I finally got settled a bit after midnight. Around six in the morning while it was still dark, I added the peeing feeling that I was having in reality to my current dream,
“That’s not pee because I never pee myself, but I think I’ll just sleep a little longer anyway because I’m pooped.”
And that I did until 7:32am when a contraction made it impossible to.
That was a real contraction, I thought. Yet I still decided to add it to another dream.
“Ouch! Okay, alright. I’m up.”
And I slowly rolled out of bed, stood up, and waddled to the bathroom. Yep. My water had officially broken.
After numerous false alarms, I texted my midwives that I was having “real” contractions and that my water had broke. They both replied immediately and Kelly came to my aid not more than 30 minutes later. Which by that point I was leaning against our orange chair during each contraction.
“Trever, I’m gonna need you in a about fifteen minutes, oh and I need something to eat,” I said.
While I breathed through each contraction every three minutes, Trever made me a breakfast burrito, complete with potatoes, eggs, cheese, and salsa. I ate a few bites, then sat it down. Ate a few more, and repeated the cycle. Until the burrito was no more.
Somehow magically the tub–for waterbirth, as well as natural pain relief–was filled in our living room and I waddled over from the comfort of the orange chair to the warm tub. I climbed in and did my best to relax.
“This is going too fast. This is too calm. Can my baby really be coming?”
My contractions started and ended with such a familiar intensity that waves of memories of my first pregnancy came to my mind. I tried to stay in the present and not get caught up in how things were then. What felt like an hour past and I felt the urgency to push,
“Should I feel like pushing now?” I asked Kelly.
“It’s because the babies head is so far down. But do whatever you feel like doing.”
So I kept listening to my body. Changing positions when I felt I needed to. Standing for a contraction or two just to alter the scenery. Kelly would come to my aid before I even expressed the need. I would think,
“Oooh, I’d love to hear how the baby is, if they’re still happy!” during a contraction.
And when I would open my eyes, there Kelly would be with her Doppler, waiting to listen to the babies heart beat. Happy. Edric was always happy.
After a few hours of being in various positions in and out of the tub, the time seemed to slow down and fly by simultaneously. Margo arrived and saw me through a few difficult contractions.
“They’re on top of each other! I need a break!” I said, exasperated.
“You’re almost there, why don’t you try laying on your side and they’ll spread out.”
I climbed onto the pull out couch and laid on my left side.
“I think I’m in transition,” I cried.
After three contractions on one side, I flipped to the other and had three more.
In the next thirty minutes, a whirlwind of activity occurred. Things slowed down as the baby took a break and I got a little rest. The break I needed. I had three or four contractions in the tub, a couple on the toilet, and again in the tub.
I knew I had to push.
“Feel your babies head,” Kelly exclaimed!
I could feel it! I could feel the baby! And that gave me the energy and excitement to push. I began pushing in the tub and after two contractions, Kelly suggested I get onto the bed. I had Audrey on the bed, so it was familiar territory. Okay, I thought, and slowly got dried off and to the bed again.
Phew. After what felt like only ten minutes, I could feel even more of Edric. I was a little nervous to push. He was so close. He was coming and almost there!
His head was out! My baby. But his shoulders were stuck!
“Flip over!” Margo said.
“Now?” I asked.
And so I did. I flipped to my hands and knees and pushed my heart out. Margo and Kelly helped the little man come out. In a minute and a half, we were snuggling. My little man was on my tummy. I looked between his legs to see who I’d be carrying these past nine months.
It was my buddy. My Edric. My love.
January 29, 2012 § 4 Comments
I’m feeling pretty discouraged. On Saturday I visited my “Mama”* midwife, Margo, and found out that I was 90% effaced and 3 centimeters dilated. That made me feel so excited about the impending bun in my oven. I thought,
“Wow! You’re almost ready to go! Maybe it will be soon!”
A few hours later I began having stronger contractions than normal 8 minutes apart, then five minutes apart. From two in the afternoon to nine or so that night, they persisted. My “Sister” midwife, Kelly, came to visit me. She asked if I wanted to be checked for progression and I was a little nervous about the the possible outcome: Nothingness.
She encouraged me and gave me a homeopathic called gelsemium to calm my nerves and antsy-ness. I had just eaten, so I had to wait 20 minutes to take it. I thanked her and saw her home saying,
“At least you can’t go backwards.”
I’d made it this far. The worst thing that could happen is the baby wouldn’t come that night as I had hoped. You see, induction of any kind–natural or medical–only works if the baby is actually ready to come. Whatever method(s) you use will only be successful prior to if the babe was already thinking,
“Mmmm, now’s a good time to come out and see the world!”
Apparently he or she inside of me had other plans for the evening. Like eating the pineapple, pretzels, and grapes I had just ate. However, I spent from 11:30 to around four in the morning with strong contractions three and a half minutes apart and lasting one a half minutes.
“For sure, they’re coming today,” I thought.
I was so stinking excited, sitting in our tub, by myself, for hours while Trever and Audrey slept away. I wanted Trev to sit there with me, yet I knew how uneventful it would be and how tired he was. My telepathy worked and he woke up around four to see me. Yet my contractions were slowly fading away. My mood was getting more and more disappointed. For surely this was it!
We popped in The Descendants, the latest George Clooney movie we’d received in the mail, thanks to the upcoming SAG Awards. It was good. And got my mind off my now non-existent contractions.
“It was like ‘Up In the Air’, only different,” I mumbled at the end.
“You’re getting the hang of this script thing,” he replied.
It was now after six. The sun has come up and was tinting the sky a light gray out the window. I dragged my feet to bed and tried to get comfortable. Three hours of labor-filled dream sleep later, I was wide awake. Trever made me a breakfast burrito and I crashed out on the couch again after shedding a few discouraged tears.
So here I am. Writing down my thoughts. Hoping to get a bit out. Hoping that I can encourage myself. I even said it, I can’t go backwards. They’re coming. I’ve made it this far. Let’s see how he/she surprises us, eh? And eat just a few more slices of pineapple.
*My midwives Margo and Kelly of Birthing Women’s Health fulfill two separate role’s for me. Like a mother/daughter team, they bring two perspectives to midwifery care. I trust each of them with their differing but complimenting opinions and know that I’m in great hands. Heck, I trust them with my life.
Photo: How can I be discouraged when
I have this little face to look at?
January 25, 2012 § 10 Comments
I guess I just feel like I deserve something nice. I had a few high hopes for my birth and preparations for what that would like therein that aren’t going to happen and I have to deal with it.
A little part of me was hoping that the 22nd would be the day. But it wasn’t. I’m not well known for my baby predictions though. Ha! And I’m okay with that. Although they haven’t yet arrived, there are some things emotionally that I need to let go of. I have feeling that has to happen for the babe number two to come.
Firstly, I was hoping for a little bit of savings to keep Papa from “having” to work. My desire all along has been for him to take a week off without feeling one inkling of regret. A full seven days to be with his little, beautiful family. And not have to worry about sleep. Or finances. But as fate would have it, we’re the most poor that we’ve practically ever been in the four years we’ve been married.
Secondly, I wanted to have more prepared. Don’t get me wrong, I did so much more than I did with Audrey. I got more food together and stored in the freezer. I created a Meal Train on mealTrain.com, so friends could visit the baby, hang out with Audrey, and bring us some yum food. And I organized and set up things beforehand that I remember being difficult with a newborn (clothing, diapering, chores around the house). Yet still I feel this insurmountable pressure that I should have done more.
I should have taught Trev how to make our basic favorite meals, so he feels confident enough to shop for us and cook with ease. I should helped Audrey prepare by using “Mommy’s Helper” more often. And I would have liked to of made more efforts to digitize our files, etc.
Lastly, I was hoping the baby would come when they wanted to and that I would feel less stressed. With Trever and Audrey being sick with colds over the past two weeks, I’ve just known that babe would stay inside till everyone was all better. Instead of relaxing and letting it go, I let it stress me out to no end. I’ve had a harder time during this pregnancy to remain zen as I did with more ease during Audrey’s.
So these things didn’t happen. They aren’t going to happen. And I just need to deal with it. Mourn over it. And let it go. Phew. It’s a toughy for me because I’m really dissappointed. I’m grateful that we’re in our own place, but I’m bummed that the deposit was so intense, it left us with no savings. Trever not feeling the freedom to be with us is by far the hardest thing for me to let go of.
I’m still waiting for a miracle. In the form of a residual check. Or a raise. Or a great consulting offer. Anything. I’m trusting for it as Audrey takes one of very few last naps snuggled around my big round tummy. Regardless of whether I let it go, they’re coming. And I couldn’t be more excited.
Update: Trever will be working the 4pm to midnight shift at his new job, so it’ll be nice to have him at home during the day. Yay!
Photo: Prenatal Yoga with Audrey.
January 20, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The second’s due date is coming up–January 28. It seems like we’ve been waiting forever, yet like no time has past at all. We’ve cozied up in our new place and settled in. I’ve done my fair share of nesting, organizing every possible corner, and have even digitized our files to check off one more duty on my list that continually got in the way or sat on the back-burner.
With the impending arrival of our beautiful little, I have thought of you continuously. I did not want to simply drop the ball for a month on my posts. However, I believe the first 40 days post-pardum to be sacred beyond all. Thus, I’ve taken a few precautions to prepare. So that you’re not utterly surprised when the small changes take place, here’s a heads up. Beginning on Friday, January 27, 2012:
- Mondays: On Monday’s, you will be reading original posts from me. Ranging from Creative Consulting topics to life as a mom of two.
- Wednesdays: I’ve asked a handful of you, my fellow friends and readers to write a single post during February, March, or April. If you would like to add to my favored Guest Posters, please email me. If a GP is not available, Wednesdays will be if-y.
- Fridays: Will be oldies, but goodies. A long time hence, I posted on a blog via Myspace. I have resurrected my favorites, done some editing, and perhaps even added a few extra thoughts before or after. These will be fun!
I’m so very excited to include you in my journey to be the mother of a second child. I cannot wait for their arrival. In that, I’m glad to have you as faithful readers. I feel as though we share a great connection–I always enjoy your comments–and look forward to the community interaction between us.
Feel free to offer your advice, email me regarding a guest post, or anything of the sort.
Photo: Sisterly [sticker] love.
July 15, 2011 § Leave a Comment
When Audrey came out and Trever placed her on my tummy, I had an overwhelming feeling of love for my child. And protection. I actually had the thought,
“If anyone tries to do anything to my baby to harm her, I will kill them!”
Woo. Kind of freaky, Mother Bear. Yes, I know. But many mother’s out there can hear me on this one: you’d do anything to protect your young and I believe it’s a natural instinct. In that moment, I felt very primal. And that feeling hasn’t gone away.
Since Audrey has arrived, I have constantly felt an automatic need to take care of her whatever the cost. Not doing so just isn’t an option. I think about feeding her, clothing her, and sheltering her way before I get to myself.
In the beginning, I had such a hard time balancing her needs with the simple one’s of my own that I would often not shower or brush my teeth for days. Learning how to be a new mother and wanting so badly to stay completely attached to your little being can be all time consuming.
As Audrey grew, I figured out how to take a five minute shower when Papa got home or make myself eat even though I didn’t feel like it or brush my teeth before I laid her down to bed for the night and stayed with her so she doesn’t wake up and feel abandoned.
Now I can shower with her or involve her in the food-making process and even snuggle her to sleep and watch a movie or read a book in the other room. The first year being completely attached was just hard and oh so worth it. I believe she’s even more independent because of it.
I’m looking forward to having all her teeth come in (just the canine’s to go) and getting her used to using the potty. She’s already in love with her undies and going quite frequently on the pot. That will take more stress off as the coming new year arrives and we welcome the new addition into our family.
We’re so very excited to welcome another member. I can feel the motherly instinct coming on again. Welling up inside of me to protect my young kin. Watch out though, you don’t want Mother Bear on your bad side.
• I’m twelve weeks and counting.
• This was planned and very welcomed.
• We don’t know what the sex is nor do we plan on finding out.
• We’re having the baby at home again. We have two wonderful midwives that we trust.
• We are due January 28, 2012. Although the baby could come anytime between 38 and 42 weeks, give or take.
• We’ve explained it to Audrey and we think she’ll make an excellent big sister.
• We’re planning to have a baby arrival celebration as the due date nears.
• We’re all set with clothes thanks to our good friends (whether it’s a girl or a boy).
• We have no sex preference. Either would be wonderful.
• We are happy with our family of four. Two is enough for us.
• Oh and yes! The hard month of June, complaints of being “sick”, etc. have been all baby-making related. I have both 24/7 morning sickness and gastritis. So it’s been tough, but look! I’m still blogging!
On that note, we definitely still need help entertaining Audrey on most days. As my body is building a baby and causing me lots of issues. And we will for sure need your support when the little one arrives.
And yes, I will kill for this one too. Wink wink.
March 2, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Before Audrey Taylor (now 14 months and counting) was even a twinkle in our eye, we knew we wanted to have two or three children. The thought of having one sounded too lonely (coming from a family of two and three, respectively, will do that to you) and that having too large of a spacing wasn’t an option. This was just the beginning of our having-kids perspective and the day Audrey was born after a 15 hour at-home labor–even though I was battling with the shock that I thought she was Jack Barron–I cried, “Let’s do that again! I want another one!”
Audrey has now been eating solids for eight months, walking for six months, and talking for four months. She’s been an independent toddler since the moment she started walking, feeding herself, saying “yes” or “no”, and communicating her wants and needs. Some days, she’ll only eat two or three times at the breast. Yet I can tell she still enjoys it.
In January, my husband Trever and I began discussing our family planning. I used one of those websites that projected my ovulation cycles after I had my first monthly friend since March 2009. The dates were the same as when we tried to conceive Audrey! We were so excited about the prospect that we tried that first month.
February was pretty tough for us as a family. Trever and I got stomach flu at the beginning of the month. Audrey began teething for the first time with actual teeth breaking through. Trever worked in the cold doing stucco for a friend one weekend and got sick for a couple weeks. And I got a stuffy nose and sire throat at the very end of the month.
All of these factors resulted in one thing: More breastfeeding! Audrey has always had that sixth sense when we’re sick and ups her breast-milk intake. Luckily, she’s never been sick in her life because of it. Moreover her teething has been so painful that she’s decreased her desire to chew solid foods and turned to me for those extra calories.
My monthly date came and went and through it, I took three pregnancy tests. All to my disappointment ringing negative. Then I took a mental note of our “tough” month and realized the increase in breastfeeding also increased my level of prolactin and told my body not to ovulate accordingly. Darn smart body. Phooey!
Here I am, laying in bed with a cold, disappointed. I did my Le Leche League research online and found my presumptions to be all too true. I had been on the right track with my decreased daytime feedings (only every four hours or so) and halting of the nighttime feeding altogether. As I overhear Snow White playing in the living room through our thin wall and receive a little text message support from my friend and fellow mom, Amy, I’m reminded: it won’t be long until number two is on the way. I’m satisfied to know that I’ve done what I can to make Audrey’s life better. Because, for her, breastfeeding is bestfeeding this month. Even if it means she has to wait a little longer for a sister or a brother.